The site plan for a new school in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. The board of education recently gave the go-ahead for the district’s first two-story elementary campus. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s 21st campus could be the valley’s first two-story elementary school.

The district’s Board of Education recently approved the school site plan for the campus proposed to be built on the northern section of the Enos Ranch development. 

“I’m excited,” said board president Linda Cordero. “Let’s start now.”

The campus funded by Measure T is proposed for land off College Drive south of Battles Road.

“The two-story will be unique for an elementary school for us,” said Matt Beecher, assistant superintendent for business services.  

“It will be unique here but in other areas in Willow Glen there’s some amazing two-story elementary schools that’s there’s no issue with,” said Vivek Harris from the district’s design consultant DLR Group

The Santa Maria district already has two-story buildings at junior high campuses.

At the district’s newest existing school, sprawling buildings require walking across concrete to reach other classrooms. 

Initially, consultants tried to incorporate 32 classrooms in hopes of accommodating up to 1,000 students at the campus. Upon review, the design features 28 to 29 classrooms.

The L-shaped building includes potential for adding another wing of classrooms to create a U-shaped campus, if needed, Harris said.

In addition to classrooms, the design calls for a learning commons, or enclosed areas in front of the classrooms for hosting small group lessons providing some flexibility.

Other features include outdoor learning environments and classrooms to serve students in the district’s Therapeutic Learning Program. 

The board needed to approve the location of buildings so the district’s environmental consultant could complete its next steps.

The recent site design approval is one step required to get the new school built following approval of the preliminary environmental assessment earlier this year.

Other approvals also will be sought from the Division of State Architect and California Department of Education.

Those approvals will support an application to the Office of Public School Construction to get in line for state Proposition 51 funding to match money from the district, Beecher said.

Another step to be completed is acquisition of the land.

Under the current schedule, the new school is set to open to students in 2020-21. 

In addition to building a new school, Measure T, a $45million bond approved by voters in 2014, called for completing projects on the district’s older campuses, including modernizing classrooms, repairing roofs, upgrading technology and science labs and replacing aging and electrical systems. 

The Santa Maria-Bonita district has approximately 17,120 students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grades.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.